Holiday White Wine Sangria

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This time last year: Mexican Hot Chocolate (2013)

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Friends, it is Day FOUR of “6 Drinks that aren’t Eggnog.” My how time flies. I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have!

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, scroll through the last there days of posts, because this week is all about fun drink recipes! You don’t want to miss it!)

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A few nights ago my family went to dinner with some family friends of ours. They were providing the entree, so we offered to bring a drink and some dessert as a contribution.

This is when having a food blog gets tricky.

Due to the fact that I am coooonstantly trying new recipes, and looking for new scrumptious dishes I can share with you all, anytime I have the opportunity to try out a new recipe on a crowd- I do! Crowds provide the best food blog feed back. You can tell if something is a total hit or if it’s not the most popular dish in the room.  It’s like having a bunch of food blog guinea pigs, which is super helpful!

Despite this obvious benefit to me and my blogging efforts, constantly cooking new recipes for parties is a high-risk, high-reward way to live. Sometimes I find myself bringing new dishes to a social setting and being a little nervous about how they will go over!

Last night was one of those situations.

Although I do love sangria, I will admit this was my first time ever making it! Thus, as I stirred together these delicious ingredients I started to get anxious that it would be a bust- there would be too much fruit, or people would find it too sweet, or find the wine too bitter, etc.

I carried the pitcher into our friend’s home with lots of apologies and excuses that I had yet to try it, and it really might not be all that great! (Such a human move, am I right?)

However, to my delight, every member of the party drank a large glass with nothing but compliments! The fruit was the perfect amount, the wine was fresh and crisp, and the drink was a wonderfully festive fit.

For my first round of sangria, on a group of food-blog guinea pig testers, I got lucky. This recipe is delicious. It’s so easy to make, and was a total crowd pleaser!

Give it a try yourself! I am confident you will love it.

And make sure you come back tomorrow! More drink recipes on the way!

XO Sarah

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Ingredients:
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped into small bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 red apple, chopped into small bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup fresh/frozen cranberries
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh Rosemary (+ sprigs for garnish- optional)1 bottle white whine
  • 2 cups ginger ale
  • 1 cup sparkling apple cider
  • 1/3 cup sugar
Directions:
  1. Add your apple slices and cranberries to a large pitcher.
  2. Bruise your rosemary to allow the flavors and juices to escape the leaves more. Do this by laying your rosemary on a cutting board, and using the backside of your knife blade, press down on the leaves.  Add the sprigs to the pitcher.
  3. Pour in the wine and stir. (At this point, you can put the pitcher in the refrigerator, and allow the fruit to marinade in the wine, or if you’re impatient like I am, you can skip to the next step!)
  4. Add the ginger ale and sparkling cider, and stir well.
  5. Optional garnish: Dip a few rosemary leaves in the wine, and then roll in a thin layer of granulated sugar. Place one in each glass, drink, and enjoy!
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Notes and Tips!:
  • Serving recommendation: Best served chilled as an appetizer drink.
  • Source: Picture the Recipe
  • Like this recipe? Make sure you don’t miss this week’s other posts for “6 Holiday Drinks That Aren’t Eggnog” (Recipe links below photos):

 

Dairy-Free Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

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This time last year: Coconut Hot Chocolate (2013)

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I woke up this morning to snow on the ground. It wasn’t a lot of snow, and honestly it’s probably more a mixture of ice than anything, however it is white, and beautiful and I love it.

All winter, across the country, we have been experiencing abnormally warm temperatures. My brother goes to college in Saint Paul and they still have yet to receive snow. That’s crazy! Not a good sign for global warning.

As much as I have loved wearing shorts in December and going on long runs without freezing to death, it feels weird to go a whole winter without snow. Snow, like christmas lights and fire places, is one of those few things that make winter and the holidays feel real!

Thus, when I woke up this morning to a thin white layer of snow on the ground, I thought the recipe of the day needed to be a warm winter treat- something you could put in a cup, wrap cold fingers around, and enjoy the comfort of that warmth.

Thus, for my third holiday drink that’s not egg nog, in this mini holiday drink series, I present you with this Dair Free Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer.

It’s good y’all. It’s winter in a cup, and it will warm your soul.

Come back for another holiday drink that isn’t eggnog!

XO Sarah

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Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups almond milk*
  • 2 Tablespoons pumpkin puree (not pumpking pie filling!)
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 – 2 cinnamon sticks

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk together until fully combined.
  2. Add the cinnamon sticks.
  3. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Whisk while boiling for one minute, then remove the pot from the heat.
  4. Allow the creamer to cool for five minutes before adding to your coffee.
  5. Dress your coffee as you like- adding sugar, whip cream, and/or a sprinkle of cinnamon as you like!

 

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Notes and Tips!:

  • I chose to make this coffee creamer dairy free, because I often get requests for dairy free recipes! Although almond milk is not as creamy as whole milk or half an half, it is definitely healthier, and still has a nice creamy flavor to it! However, if you prefer to go the traditional route, feel free to substitute the almond milk out for whole milk or half and half!
  • Store leftovers in a covered container for up to a week. Shake well before each use.
  • Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction 
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious recipes from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links below photos):

Cranberry Whiskey Cocktail

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This time last year: Pumpkin Hot Chocolate (2013)

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Well, Christmas has passed, but this holiday season is far from over- at least that’s the case in my house. Why let such a good thing end so soon?!

In celebration of the 12 days of Christmas, and a continued season of festivities, I am going to bring you six drink options for this holiday season that are NOT eggnog- starting today!

I will admit, I really don’t have anything against eggnog. Eggnog and I don’t go way back, but I don’t hate it.

However, I like getting a little more creative with my cooking choices than eggnog. It just makes life more fun! Thus, this week, from Christmas to New Years, I am going to bring you a handful of new drink recipes that you can use for a variety of occasions- from happy hour to early morning coffee.

Cheers to you!

And cheers to the holiday!

Love, Sarah

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Ingredients:
  • 1 oz. Crown Royal Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Ginger ale
  • 1 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • Fresh Cranberries and ice for garnish
Directions:
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour the liquids into the shaker and mix (shake or stir to your desire).
  2. Strain the liquids into a glass full with fresh ice.
  3. Garnish with cranberries and enjoy!
 
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Notes and Tips!:
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Source: Your Southern Peach 
  • Like this recipe? Try these other beverages from A Rented kitchen (Recipe links below photos!):

Berry Quinoa Salad with Citrus Honey Dressing

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This time last year: Cranberry Field Roast Panini (2012)

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Oh Hello again!

It’s been a while. My b.

Once again, life got crazy, and I am now in my THIRD rented kitchen. What’s up, change?

I could give you a whole host of reasons why I have not been able to post much in the last two months, but who has time for that? The real point is that I have so many fun summer recipes I want to share with you guys, this one in particular is scrumptious, and after almost two months away, you have to start of big. Cue Berry Quinoa Salad with Citrus Honey Dressing.

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Summer is the perfect time for dishes like this, because they are so refreshing, they use seasonal ingredients, and they are best served chilled- perfect for a summer day picnic or a porch dinner.

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did, and I hope you are able to share it with someone you love.

I have come to realize recently, how special that exchange really can be. Here’s to nourishing your heart while nourishing your body.

With love,

a rented kitchen

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Citrus Honey Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped mint
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped basil

Salad Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups strawberries, cut in half
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup roughly chopped honey roasted cinnamon almonds or mixed nuts*
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped mint
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped basil

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside for later.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss the quinoa, berries, almonds, mint, and basil. Drizzle the salad with the dressing, and gently stir once more. Serve fresh and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • If you cannot find red quinoa, regular quinoa will work as well! Feel free to make it a day in advance, as long as the quinoa is cool prior to making the salad.
  • Blue Diamond, as well as stores like Whole Foods and Fresh Market, carry honey roasted cinnamon almonds and/or bags of mixed nuts! If you cannot find that exact combination, aim for something similar, or substitute with sunflower seeds or mixed nuts!
  • Source: Two Peas and Their Pod 
  • If you like this recipe, try these other delicious dishes from A Rented Kitchen (Links below photos!):

 

Fried Plantains: Sweet and Salty

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This time last year: Pudding Pops (2012)

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There was this perfect little Cuban restaurant just down the street from my apartment in Richmond.

I would run by it early in the morning and smell the freshly brewed Café con Leche. My friends and I would roll into it late at night- snag a booth and split some fresh warm cornbread, a beer, and fried plantains. It was perfect.

It was there, in that tiny neighborhood corner restaurant that I learned to love fried plantains.

I have had the privilege of enjoying fried plantains prior to that Cuban restaurant, however it was the many nights in those warm booths that caused me to appreciate fried plantains in a new way- as dessert, a salty appetizer, a warm crunchy salad topper, the perfect side dish, my snack craving on the go- the list goes on, and my appreciation runs deep!

Fast forward many moons, and I am missing those warm Richmond nights with the strong sweet smell of Cuban food floating through the neighborhood. Therefore, I did the only thing my nostalgia would let me do. I decided to try my hand at this classic recipe myself.

There are a few different ways to approach plantains- sweet and salty. I tried my hand at both, and have to say- you truly can’t go wrong! So, go ahead, try your hand at both, and let me know your favorite!

You have nothing to lose, and sweet new memories to gain.

Happy snacking!

Love, A Rented Kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil + more for frying as needed
  • Two large plantains
  • Freshly cracked Sea Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Sugar

Directions:

1. Line a large plate with paper towels and set aside.
2. Peel the plantains and slice into 1/4-inch thick pieces.
3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the plantains to the oil, flipping occasionally, and frying 2-4 minutes- or until a golden brown color. (The longer you fry the plantains, the sweeter they are)
4. Remove the plantains from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels.
For salty plantains– sprinkle the tops of each piece with a generous dose of sea salt.
For sweet plantains– combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Dredge the plantain slice through the bowl until coated with cinnamon sugar. Repeat with remaining slices.
For salty sweet plantains– dredge the plantain in the cinnamon sugar mix and then sprinkle with sea salt.
Enjoy!

 

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Notes and Tips!: 

  • Adapted from: The Food Network 
  • Ways to enjoy plantains:
    • The perfect crunchy and warm salad topping
    • Appetizer snack!
    • Serve them with whipped cream, ice cream, or drizzled with caramel sauce
    • Enjoy as a delicious side dish
    • Add them to your lunch box for a perfect office snack
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious snacks from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links found below photos)